Taming technology
Editorial

Taming technology

October 3, 2019

The era of drawing water from the depth of wells, digging earth to sow seeds for raising food crops, walking distances to reach destinations, lifting heavy articles for stacking, creating fire by lighting firewood, straining lungs, for cooking food, chopping trees by using axe involving physical labour as well as needing hours of work, constructing buildings by physically carrying raw materials to reach the rooftop, counting paper currency using fingers, however deftly, making implements used in agriculture by outmoded means, painting walls of buildings with brushes of small width and a host of actions as part of daily life, which were common sight until a few decades ago, have moved into pages of human history. Pursuit of happiness, particularly by avoiding drudgery, seeking comfort and other all-too-familar carnal pleasures relating to both bodily and mental appetites seem to have generated heat in daily life of people at present times and fire being doused by innovating ever novel means that can be described by one word, technology. Arrival of electricity first and digital technology stoked by electronics next have given wide and powerful wings to technology enabling human beings to fly into space, out-flying the eagles as it were. Where the human species is heading while riding on technology is well-nigh impossible to visualise.

The part of time space accounted for by human species revelling with products of technology propelled by electrical power is virtually an infinitesimal fraction of the time space traced to the emergence of the species, estimated at about 2,00,000 years. Humankind has drawn heavily from technology to raise the happiness and comfort levels raising some basic questions which deserve to be asked, if not answered.

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The first question, taking the case of India, concerns its population ceaselessly in expansion mode. In order to fulfil the need of dwellings, to the last citizen as a policy, river sand has been mined on an unprecedented scale, fertile agricultural land area is facing attrition, life-supporting green cover is yielding place to grey cover, meaning concrete jungles, multi-storeyed structures are rising by razing to the ground single and double-storeyed houses in urban spaces across the country leaving us with no clue on halting the pace of what is mistakenly perceived as development. The next question, taking the case of all the countries of the world, concerns the massive production of products of comfort in an endless list, automobiles cluttering all open space and plastic accumulating as debris out-sizing the biggest mountains are staring at us, making us dumbfounded.

Humankind of the past centuries, until technology, as it has become indispensable at present times set the pace of life, didn’t have to feel helpless unlike its so-called modern generation. While technology has conferred both happiness and comfort to humankind, the writing is on the wall that it must be tamed so that humankind and all other life forms continue without worsening the aforementioned consequences of technology.

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